Health Care

06 November 2023

Few things matter more to Australian families than being able to see their doctor. Especially when it's your little ones who are unwell, getting in to see a GP you know, and quickly, is so important. I've been there myself, with a little one feverish or with a cough that just won't shift, and feeling worried, anxious and desperate for the reassurance my GP can give or the extra support I need.

For many in our community, not only getting that appointment quickly but having it bulk-billed is absolutely critical. But the fact is that, after some six years of frozen Medicare rebates under the former coalition government, our GPs are under pressure and too many families are unable to access the bulk-billed appointments they need. That's why our government is making the biggest investment in bulk-billing in the 40-year history of Medicare. Through our tripling of the bulk-billing incentive, 11 million Australians should now find it easier to see a bulk-billing doctor. They include five million children and their families and around seven million pensioners and other concession card holders. It represents about three out of every five GP visits in Australia. This will make a massive difference to Australian families.

Our government is making the largest investment in bulk-billing in the history of Medicare, and we're making it because Australian families have been finding it too hard to see a doctor, our doctors have been under pressure, and our health system has been under strain.

The contrast to the opposition couldn't be starker. We should never forget they froze Medicare rebates for six or seven years, making bulk-billing less accessible. We should never forget that, in the one year that Peter Dutton was Minister for Health, he drove Medicare to its worst state in 40 years. And we should never forget the $7 GP tax they wanted to install, which would have destroyed Medicare forever. Labor built Medicare. We'll always fight for it, and we'll always work to strengthen it for the benefit of Australian families.